Information for Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange
VVA Self-Help Guide to Service-Connected Disability Compensation for Exposures to Agent Orange
This guide is the recommended starting point for veterans and their family members to learn about the process to file a claim for service-connected disability compensation or death benefits with the VA for illnesses/diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange and other related herbicides during military service. This guide will be helpful regardless of whether you have filed a claim in the past or not.
DOWNLOAD THIS SELF-HELP GUIDE (revised June 2023)
This guide provides:
The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to toxic substances. It extends eligibility for Vietnam-era veterans who served outside of Vietnam, adds new presumptive conditions and diseases, and adds benefits for Gulf-war and post-9/11 veterans. To see a list of the new locations and conditions covered, follow the link below.
Vietnam Veterans of America has published a comprehensive set of printed publications about Agent Orange.
These publications include:
The VA has an entire section of their website devoted to Agent Orange Exposure. Visit this site for the latest information about recognized diseases/conditions, Thailand bases, Blue Water Navy service, and service outside Vietnam or Korea.
The Agent Orange Registry
In 1978, the VA began a program to examine and to record the names of veterans concerned about health problems related to their exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides during their military service in SE Asia. Eligible veterans qualify for an Agent Orange Registry exam. This will document the veteran's exposure history, medical history, physical condition and lab test results. This is not the same as a disability claim, but the results can be used to support a subsequent claim. To learn more about this program, click here.
VVA encourages all veterans with Vietnam service to have an Agent Orange Registry exam. To get an exam, please contact your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator. In Portland, you can call 503-906-5100 to speak with the local coordinator.
Finding a Veterans Service Officer
You will probably find VA rules, regulations and procedures complicated and frustrating, so it is important to get knowledgeable help to file a claim. Many Veterans Service Organizations including VVA offer free assistance to help you present your claim to the VA. You should choose a representative carefully; ask questions about their claims experience before you select them. Find out if there are any limits on their service BEFORE you sign a power of attorney appointing them as your representative. Also, make copies of ALL documents used in your claim and keep them in a safe place in case any paperwork is misplaced or lost.
Information on Veterans Service Organizations can be found on the last page of the VVA Self-Help Guide to Service-Connected Disability Compensation for Exposures to Agent Orange.
VVA utilizes Service Officers in the representation of claimants seeking VA benefits. Service Officers, referred to as Service Representatives by some organizations, are recognized by the VA as being allowed to represent claimants seeking benefits before the various levels of the VA. To find a list of VVA affiliated Veterans Service Officers near you, visit the VVA website Service Officer Locator page.
The History of Herbicide Use in Vietnam and other Locations
Where AO Came From - A VVA Video
Jack McManus of Vietnam Veterans of America was part of Operation Ranch Hand during his military service in the Vietnam War. His mission was to spray the herbicide Agent Orange across Vietnam via aircraft. He now works to inform other veterans, their children, and the general public about what Agent Orange was and why the companies that manufactured it need to release more information about how it was made, where it was used and what was in it.
History Channel Video about Agent Orange
This History Channel video offers a summary of the use of herbicides in Vietnam as a military tactic. These defoliants included Agent Orange and similar chemicals. The widespread use of these defoliants some 50 years ago have left an ongoing legacy today.
Welcome Home, Maryland: A Look at Agent Orange Today - A VVA "Faces of Agent Orange" Video
Alan B. Oates gives an audience of veterans and veteran supporters in Silver Spring, Maryland, a look at where the legacy of Agent Orange stands today and what it may still bring to future generations that will be affected by it. Mr. Oates is Chair of the VVA Agent Orange/Dioxin and Other Toxic Exposure Committee as well as Director of Research, Special Projects and Legislative Affairs for U.S. Military Veterans with Parkinson's (USMVP).
Information for Surviving Family Members
If a Vietnam veteran dies of a medical condition considered to have resulted from exposure to Agent Orange during his/her military service, certain surviving family members may be eligible for monthly VA compensation payments through the VA's dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) program
Who Is Eligible? (see the VVA Self-Help Guide for specific requirements))
How to File a DIC Claim
Survivors filing a claim for dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), survivor's pension and accrued benefits must complete VA Form 21-524EZ.
Information for Children and Grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans
The children of Vietnam veterans who are born with a birth defect may be eligible for compensation, free medical care and vocational rehabilitation services. To be eligible, you must show three things:
Filing a Claim
If a child or grandchild is believed to have a health issue that is linked to a veteran's exposure, it is recommended that a claim be filed for them with the assistance of an accredited Veterans Service Officer (VSO). Expect these claims to be denied; the important thing is to get these descendants registered in the VA system. These claims are filed on VBA Form 21-0304 and are sent to the VA Regional Office in Denver, Colorado.
Register with the BDRC
The child or grandchild should also be registered with Birth Defect Research for Children (BDRC) at www. birthdefects.org. The BDRC is an independent, nonprofit organization that has been tracking the health of the children and grandchildren of veterans.
VIDEOS ABOUT HEALTH PROBLEMS OF THE CHILDREN OF VIETNAM VETERANS
Amy King-Applewhite's Story - A VVA "Faces of Agent Orange" Video
Amy King-Applewhite is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran. All her life, Amy has suffered from severe- and at times shocking- medical issues that she and her father believe were related to his exposure to Agent Orange during the war. Not only has Amy endured numerous painful procedures and surgeries, but her daughters have been born with equally severe medical problems that are often similar to hers.
The Holybee Family's Story - A VVA "Faces of Agent Orange" Video
Ken Holybee served his country during the Vietnam War. Today, his three children suffer from rare medical problems that cause them daily hardship and financial stress. Ken and his family want the government to take more responsibility for the herbicides sprayed over Vietnam- and U.S. troops- during the war.
Danielle Perry's Story - A VVA "Faces of Agent Orange" Video
Danielle Perry is the daughter of Reuben "Bud" Charles Perry III, who served in the "brown water" Navy along Vietnam's rivers during the Vietnam War. Years later, he suffered from diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. Today, Danielle believes her illnesses and medical conditions were caused by her father's exposure to Agent Orange during his military service.
Useful Links for More Information
Agent Orange Web Pages
Filing A Service Officer to Help You File A Claim
The Faces of Agent Orange: A project of the Vietnam Veterans of America